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San Antonio moves forward with streetcar plan

San Antonio City Council has voted to approve funding for a five-year transit expansion plan that includes a streetcar line.

The vote all but guarantees construction of the city’s first urban rail project since San Antonio ended its electric streetcar operation in 1933.

“I do believe what this plan does is it looks forward,” [Mayor Julian] Castro said.

The city, county and VIA now will draft an interlocal agreement to implement the plan. Bexar County has dedicated $55 million for the starter line, VIA will pay $70 million and the city will pursue creation of a special assessment district in the streetcar corridor, requiring property owners to pay into a pool of money to fund the service.

If the district isn’t created, the city deal is void.

Over five years, the city will contribute $40 million to the plan, which includes money for two downtown transit centers and two park and ride facilities.

See here and here for some related stuff. There’s a lot of ambitious plans for transit expansion going on in San Antonio, some of which will depend on federal funding that is not exactly guaranteed. Which is too bad, because this is something a lot of cities should be thinking about, and there may never be a cheaper time to finance such projects. That’s a much larger discussion, of course. In any event, I wish them well in this endeavor.

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